Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Mixed up March

We expect March to be a bit different,  it's the end of winter and the start of Spring and the weather can be very strange.....but we've gone from summer to winter,  summer to winter and now summer again!   Or should that be winter to summer.....winter to summer?
Anyway,  2 weeks ago we had some horrible weather......

19th March,  the first 'ice plant' flower was about to open,

20th March,  we had thunder, rain and hail which it didn't like,

hail on the ground, still there a few hours later.

23rd March it's struggling to recover,

plus lots of blossom knocked off and complete heads broken off some flowers,  including the iris which are pretty sturdy plants.

March 25th - howling gales!  The wind picked up  during the afternoon,  we had a horrendous evening and night with the wind howling around the house,  and we spent most of the next day sweeping,  raking,  repairing plants, re-staking, .... it took most of the day to get back to where we'd been the day before.  I'm not sure that the broad beans will ever recover,  they look like a giant hand has smashed down into the middle of them and a lot of them have broken stalks.  But they are very resilient,  and do  keep on growing, so there may be some life there yet.

March 29th - a sad scruffy looking flower

But now we have wall to wall sunshine,  6 flowers on the ice plant,  shade temperatures of 25 degrees, but higher on the coast.  On a forum that I read, someone said although the clocks have gone forward by 1 hour,  it's as if the month has gone forward as well.

As I write this it is 21 degrees in and out,  windows wide open,  crickets chirping madly in the olive trees,  does this mean we are in for a super-hot summer or is it just a blip?  The writer on the forum I mentioned said it's the hottest week in March in the 12 years that  he's been here.

Time,  as they say,  will tell.

And finally, isn't this the most perfect Iris?  Before the wind, rain and hail that is!!

Sunday, 15 March 2015

Each peach pear plum....

Some of you might remember Each Peach Pear Plum as a title of a children's book by Janet and Allen Ahlberg published way back in 1978 and still in the top 10 of best selling children's books ever,   however that's not what I intended to write about,  it just occurred to me when I was sorting out these photos.....

If we are lucky these flowers will produce peaches...

and pears...

and plums  Although we've only ever had 2 plums from this tree,   I've said before 'every year is different'  so maybe this year it will surprise us.

Up at  the fuente is a large shrubby plant and it's covered in catkins.  They are huge and fluffy,  I always thought catkins were the flower of a hazel but having googled,  they are also on the alder which we have,  the poplar which we have, the birch, beech, hornbeam and the willow which grows at the stream on the way up to Yegen.  So I learnt something new today!

These catkins are - I think - on the alder as there are a lot of them growing near the fuente. 

Spring which sprung so beautifully recently has taken a break again,  clouds gathered very low down on Friday afternoon,  we were almost in the clouds at times yesterday although the sun struggled through a bit,  last night it drizzled - I thought we were walking in the cloud when we went out last thing but it was the start of a drizzly night.  Brighter today but much cooler than of late.  No bare legs today!  Back into trousers and socks.

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Sunshine and blue skies- tempting fate again?

It was a sun umbrella day  the next day,  but as the day wore on the clouds became hazy and then thicker and on the morning of the 5th we woke to thick cloud.  In fact we were in the cloud for most of the morning.   Normally we can see down to Yátor,  up to Mecina and once we get up to the ermita we can see across to the cemetery at Yegen.   But not on mornings like that!  Damp in the air,  moisture because we were walking in the clouds, not rain.

The next morning there was frost on the ground, although we had a  lovely a sunny day later on.  So 3 days of un-spring-like weather with no need for any woodburner at night,  then sunny but cooler,  and now....

back to sunshine and it's  been almost 20 again today.   And again, no need for a fire.

Yesterday we were out,  first to the ITV center for the Polo's annual test -  the Polo's date is in February and we took it then but instead of the usual 'yes it's passed and here is your sticker for the windscreen'  we had a 'sorry but you need 2 new tires and there is a problem/bit of work needed with something underneath'.  Not being mechanical it meant nothing to me,  something to do with a stabilising bar,   but it meant we couldn't drive it till it was sorted and retested.  We had 2 months in which to do the work,  then a re-test which is free.  So home via the mechanic who read the paperwork and said ' a bit of welding,  no more than 15 or 20 euros, plus tires,  maybe 200 altogether'.  We couldn't leave the car then,  no way to get home, but took it back a few days later for work to be done.  Pleasantly surprised when we collected it as the 'bit of welding'  actually needed a new part,  and even with the tires the total cost was only €170.

So yesterday we went for the re-test,  but we had gone early and had spare time so stopped for coffee and tostada in Torvizcon about half way there.  It's one of the white villages set in the hillside of this region,  and although it looks pretty and inviting, we have never stopped there apart from filling up with petrol.  But yesterday we ate breakfast outside in the sunshine, 

the view from our breakfast terrace

coffee, toast and homemade jam for 2 = €3.60
ITV done and passed  :)  we went first to Salobreña for some shopping then to Motril for a quick McD's lunch and a bit more shopping.

These photos of Salobreña are of the 'new' part, 

 but up in the background you can just make out the old Castle of the old original part of town, now with a crane doing some work.  How they got it up there beats me, the streets of the old part are so narrow! 

The beach stretches for miles,  not many people on the beach yet,  although the restaurants were busy.

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Tempting fate?

March:  changeable weather,  sometimes sunny but cool,  showers too,  quite often breezy and definitely chilly in the evening with the wood burner alight...

or not?

I know that when I write about the weather at this time of the year,   if I say it's cold and wet then it'll change within days if not hours to something better so as I sit here in a t-shirt,  no heating on again - for the second night -   still 18 degrees outside,  14 overnight last night,  I'm sure it'll change soon.

But for last few days it's been absolutely glorious.  Clear blue skies and rising temperatures.  Almost 22 this afternoon in the shade on the terrace,  I'm sure it's just a blip, some jet stream sending warm air over us that should be further south but it's so nice.

Probably winter will come back soon,  cloud and drizzle,  wind and rain,  but while the sun is out we are making the most of it.  We spent yesterday morning working on the top terraces, John strimmed and I raked off the trimmings,  while planning where to plant this years seeds and vegetables. 

We are pretty much decided on just planting what we know grows well and/or we can't buy easily - chillis, coriander,  kohlrabi,  different salad leaves,  rocket,  - I'm sure there's more,  but the basics we leave to the professionals.  Things like potatoes,  onions,  cabbages,  sweet potatoes,  carrots, garlic,   we've tried growing all those but always have problems and then it ends up costing more in seeds/small plants/fertiliser/compost than we would have spent on buying just what we needed!

Off now to check the weather forecast.....sun shade or umbrella?